25 December • yesterday
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Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord

Christmas

Also known as

• Feast of the Nativity
• Nativity of the Lord

Derivation

Cristes Maesse, Christ's Mass (Old English)

About the Feast

Celebration of the anniversary of the birth of Our Lord. In the earliest days of the Church there was no such feast; the Saviour's birth was commemorated with the Epiphany by the Greek and other Eastern Churches. First mention of the feast, then kept on 20 May, was made by Clement of Alexandria c.200. The Latin Church began c.300 to observe it on 25 December, though there is no certainty that Our Lord was born on that day. Priests have the privilege of saying three Masses, at midnight, daybreak, and morning. This was originally reserved to the pope alone; beginning about the 4th century he celebrated a midnight Mass in the Lateran Basilica (in which according to tradition, the manger of Bethlehem is preserved), a second in the church of Saint Anastasia, whose feast comes on 25 December, and a third at the Vatican Basilica. Many peculiar customs of the day are the outcome of the pagan celebrations of the January calends. The Christmas tree, of which the first known mention was made in 1605 at Strasbourg, was introduced into France and England in 1840. The feast is a holy day of obligation, preceded by the preparatory season of Advent and by a special vigil; should it fall on a Friday it abrogates the law of abstinence.

Video

YouTube PlayList

http://catholicsaints.info/christmas/


Blessed Jacopone da Todi

Also known as

• Crazy Jim
• Iacopone da Todi
• Jacomo da Todi
• Jacopo Benedetti
• Jacopo Benedicti
• Jacopone Benedetti da Todi
• Jacopone of Todi
• James da Todi

Profile

Italian noble from the Benedetti family of Todi. Successful lawyer at Bologna, Italy. Married to Vanna di Guidone in 1267; she considered Jacomo too worldly, and did penance for him. In 1268, Jacomo insisted she attend a public tournament against her wishes; the stands in which she sat collapsed, and Vanna was killed. The shock of this event, and his discovery of her penance for him, caused a radical change in Jacomo. He gave his possessions to the poor, dressed in rags, and became a Franciscan tertiary. His former associates called him Jacopone - Crazy Jim; he embraced the name.

After ten years of this penance and abuse, Jacomo tried to join the Franciscans; his reputation as Crazy Jim preceeded him, and he was refused. To prove his sanity and intentions, he wrote a beautiful poem about the vanities of the world; it swayed the Franciscans, and he joined the Order in 1278. He refused to be ordained, and spent time writing popular hymns in the vernacular.

Jacopone suddenly found himself a leader in a disturbing religious movement among the Franciscans. The Spirituals, as they were called, wanted a return to the strict poverty of Francis. They had the support of two cardinals and Pope Celestine V. The two cardinals, however, opposed Celestine's successor, Boniface VIII, and due to the wrangling in the Vatican, Jacopone was excommunicated and imprisoned at age 68. Jacopone acknowledged his error, but was not released until Blessed Benedict XI became pope five years later. Jacopone accepted his imprisonment as penance. He spent his last three years giving himself to completely to spirituality, weeping "because Love is not loved," and writing, including the famous Latin hymn, Stabat Mater.

Born

c.1230 at Todi, Italy as Jacopo Benedetti

Died

• 25 December 1306 at Collazzone, Italy of natural causes as a priest intoned the Gloria from midnight Mass
• relics at San Fortunato Church, Montecristo, Italy

Representation

• Franciscan tertiary kneeling before a vision of the Virgin surrounded by angels
• barefoot Franciscan holding a book

Video

YouTube PlayList

Readings

Here lie the bones of Blessed Jacopone dei Benedetti da Todi, Friar Minor, who, having gone mad with love of Christ, by a new artifice deceived the world and took Heaven by violence. - from the tomb of Blessed Jacopone

The Stabat Mater

At the cross her station keeping,
Stood the mournful Mother weeping,
Close to Jesus to the last.

Through her heart, His sorrow sharing,
All His bitter anguish bearing,
Now at length the sword had pass'd.

Oh, how sad and sore distress'd
Was that Mother highly blest
Of the sole-begotten One!

Christ above in torment hangs;
She beneath beholds the pangs
Of her dying glorious Son.

Is there one who would not weep,
Whelm'd in miseries so deep
Christ's dear Mother to behold?

Can the human heart refrain
From partaking in her pain,
In that Mother's pain untold?

Bruis'd, derided, curs'd, defil'd,
She beheld her tender child
All with bloody scourges rent.

For the sins of His own nation,
Saw Him hang in desolation,
Till His spirit forth He sent.

O thou Mother! fount of love!
Touch my spirit from above;
Make my heart with thine accord.

Make me feel as thou hast felt;
Make my soul to glow and melt
With the love of Christ our Lord.

Holy Mother! pierce me through;
In my heart each wound renew
Of my Saviour crucified.

Let me share with thee His pain,
Who for all my sins was slain,
Who for me in torments died.

Let me mingle tears with thee,
Mourning Him who mourn'd for me,
All the days that I may live.

By the cross with thee to stay,
There with thee to weep and pray,
Is all I ask of thee to give.

Virgin of all virgins best,
Listen to my fond request
Let me share thy grief divine.

Let me, to my latest breath,
In my body bear the death
Of that dying Son of thine.

Wounded with His every wound,
Steep my soul till it hath swoon'd
In His very blood away.

Be to me, O Virgin, nigh,
Lest in flames I burn and die,
In His awful Judgment day.

Christ, when Thou shalt call me hence,
Be Thy Mother my defense,
Be Thy cross my victory.

While my body here decays,
May my soul Thy goodness praise,
Safe in Paradise with Thee.

Amen.
- Blessed Jacopone da Todi

http://catholicsaints.info/blessed-jacopone-da-todi/>


Blessed Maria Therese von Wüllenweber

Also known as

• Maria of the Apostles
• Mary of the Apostles

Profile

Born to the German nobility, the eldest of five daughters of Baron Theodor von Wüllenweber. Always deeply religious, as a girl Maria-Therese felt drawn to religious life, and wanted to become a missionary. Educated by tutors and the Benedictines of Liege, Belgium. At age 24 she entered the convent of the Sacred Heart, Blumenthal, Germany. Held positions of authority in convents in Warendort, Germany and Orleans, France. Coming to understand that her vocation was not as a teacher, she left religious life in March 1863, and returned home to her family. She developed a devotion to the Sacred Heart, and was briefly involved with the Sisters of the Visitation, but it wasn't until 1868 that she became a member of the Congregation of Perpetual Adoration in Brussels, Belgium and began working with the poor. She began leading such work in Germany, but it was duing the anti-Catholic kulturkampf era, and in 1870 she returned to her family home. Co-founded the Sisters of the Divine Savior (Salvatorian Sisters) on 8 December 1888, and served as their first superior. The Sisters continue their good work today in 27 countries.

Born

19 February 1833 in Myllendonk Castle, Mönchengladbach, Düsseldorf, Germany

Died

• 25 December 1907 in Rome, Italy of natural causes
• relics enshrined in the General House of the Suore Salvatoriane, Via Mura Gianicolensi, Rome

Beatified

13 October 1968 by Pope Paul VI

http://catholicsaints.info/blessed-maria-therese-von-wullenweber/


Saint Peter Nolasco

Also known as

Pedro

Additional Memorial

6 May (Mercedarians)

Profile

Born to the French nobility. Grew up a pious youth. His father died when Peter was fifteen, and he inherited a substantial fortune. When he came of age, he gave away his possessions and moved to Barcelona, Spain to avoid the Albigensian heretics. He later took part in the Crusades against the Albigensians in southern France. Tutor to King James I of Aragon. Settled in Barcelona. Friend of Saint Raymond Penyafort. He used his large inheritance to ransom Christians held prisoner by the Moors. Founded the Order of Our Lady of Mercy (Mercedarians) beginning in 1218, an order devoted to ransoming Christians; the Order received papal approval in 1230. Peter twice served as a captive in Africa, winning the release of over 400 captives. In 1249, Peter retired from the Order to spend his remaining days in quiet prayer.

Born

1182 at Mas-des-Saintes-Puelles, near Castelnaudary, Languedoc, France

Died

25 December 1258 of natural causes

Canonized

30 September 1628 by Pope Urban VIII (cultus confirmation)

Storefront

medals and pendants

Video

YouTube PlayList

http://catholicsaints.info/saint-peter-nolasco/


Martyrs of Nicomedia

Profile

20,000 Christians martyred by order of Diocletian. They were reported to have all been in the single basilica to celebrate Christmas. While there unquestionably was an endless series of martyrs under Diocletian, it's likely the ancient sources exaggerated the numbers of this incident. And as the Christmas holy day was not celebrated in the East in 303, they were probably gathered for another feast.

Died

burned alive in 303 in the basilica of Nicomedia

http://catholicsaints.info/martyrs-of-nicomedia-25-december/


Saint Anastasia of Sirmium

Profile

Daughter of Saint Fausta of Sirmium. Matron of a noble Roman family. Married to a pagan. Spiritual student of Saint Chrysogonus. Martyred in the persecutions of Diocletian.

Her name is commemorated in the second Mass of Christmas and the first eucharistic prayer. Nothing is really known about her except her death, but there have been no end of attempts by story-tellers to fill in the blanks.

Died

• burned to death c.304 at Sirmium, Dalmatia
• relics at Istanbul, Turkey (former Constantinople)

Patronage

• martyrs
• weavers
• widows

Representation

• woman with palm branch of martyrdom
• woman holding a small cross and vase
• woman with a flame in her hand
• woman holding a bowl with a flame in it

Storefront

medals and pendants

Video

YouTube PlayList

http://catholicsaints.info/saint-anastasia-of-sirmium/


Saint Adalsindis of Hamay

Also known as

Adalasenda, Adalsendis, Adalsind

Profile

Daughter of Saint Adalbald of Ostrevant and Saint Rictrudis of Marchiennes. Sister of Saint Eusebia of Hamay, Saint Clotsind and Saint Mauront. Benedictine nun at Hamay-les-Marchiennes near Arras, France and spiritual student of her sister.

Died

c.715 of natural causes

http://catholicsaints.info/saint-adalsindis-of-hamay/


Saint Alburga of Wilton

Profile

Princess, the half-sister of King Egbert of Wessex. Wife of Earl Wulstan of Wiltshire who founded Wilton Abbey near Salisbury, England in 773. Widowed in 800. She converted Wilton Abbey into a convent for women, retired there with a dozen fellow Benedictine nuns, and is also considered a founder of the house.

Born

in Wessex, England

Died

810 at Wilton abbey, England of natural causes

http://catholicsaints.info/saint-alburga-of-wilton/


Blessed Artale

Profile

Soldier. Knight. Lay member of the Mercedarians. Ransomed at least 150 Christian prisoners from slavery in Africa. Known for his personal piety.

Died

Oran, Algeria of natural causes

http://catholicsaints.info/blessed-artale/


Saint Basilea of the Via Latina

Also known as

Basilée, Basiléo

Profile

Martyred in the persecutions of Valerian and Gallienus.

Died

c.258 on the Vita Latina, Rome, Italy

http://catholicsaints.info/saint-basilea-of-the-via-latina/


Blessed Bentivoglio de Bonis

Also known as

• Bentivolius Bonis
• Bentivoglio de Bonis of San Severino Marche

Profile

One of Saint Francis of Assisi's earliest disciples and one of first Franciscans. Priest. Noted preachers, miracle worker, healer and visionary.

Born

1188 at San Severino, Italy

Died

25 December 1232 at San Severino, Italy of natural causes

Beatified

30 December 1852 by Pope Blessed Pius IX (cultus confirmed)

http://catholicsaints.info/blessed-bentivoglio-de-bonis/


Blessed Diego de Aro

Profile

Mercedarian friar at the convent of Santa Maria Guardia in Prats, Spain (in modern Andorra). Helped ransom a total of 132 Christians enslaved by Moors in Granada, Spain.

http://catholicsaints.info/blessed-diego-de-aro/


Saint Eugenia of Rome

Profile

Young noble woman. Converted by and martyred with her servants, Saint Hyacinth and Saint Protus during the persecution Valerian. Her Acta read like a melodramatic adventure novel, but are worthless as biography.

Died

• c.258, probably by beheading
• buried in Apronianus cemetery on the Via Latina

http://catholicsaints.info/saint-eugenia-of-rome/


Blessed Fulk of Toulouse

Also known as

• Folquet
• the Minstrel Bishop

Profile

Professional minstrel. Benedictine Cistercian monk at Thoronet, France. Abbot in 1200. Bishop of Toulouse, France in 1206. Helped Saint Dominic de Guzman found the Order of Preachers by providing him a base of operations, books, equipment, and one-sixth of the church tithes.

Born

c.1155 at Genoa, Italy

Died

1231 of natural causes

http://catholicsaints.info/blessed-fulk-of-toulouse/


Saint Jovin of the Via Latina

Also known as

Giovino, Iovino

Profile

Martyred in the persecutions of Valerian and Gallienus.

Died

c.258 on the Vita Latina, Rome, Italy

http://catholicsaints.info/saint-jovin-of-the-via-latina/


Blessed Matthew of Albano

Profile

Canon of Rheims, France. Benedictine Cluniac monk at Saint-Martin-des-Champs in 1108. Prior of his house in 1117. Created cardinal bishop of Albano in 1125. Papal legate in France and Germany in 1128. Staunch supported of the Cluniac ideal. Close friend of Blessed Peter the Venerable.

Died

1134 of natural causes

http://catholicsaints.info/blessed-matthew-of-albano/


Blessed Michaël Nakashima Saburoemon

Profile

Jesuit. Martyred for hiding and assisting priests and missionaries.

Born

c.1583 in Machiai, Kumamoto, Japan

Died

scalded to death in the hot springs at Mount Ungen, Shimabara, Japan on 25 December 1628

Beatified

7 May 1867 by Pope Pius IX

http://catholicsaints.info/blessed-michael-nakashima-saburoemon/


Blessed Nera

Profile

Dominican tertiary. Cared for the sick in Siena, Italy.

Born

1230

Died

1287 of natural causes

http://catholicsaints.info/blessed-nera/


Saint Romulus of Berry

Profile

Priest. Founded a monastery in Berry, France.

Died

c.700 of natural causes

http://catholicsaints.info/saint-romulus-of-berry/


Also celebrated but no entry yet

• Matthew Paul
• Susanna of Armenia


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